GREASING THE HOUSE WHEELS
Traditional among the more out-at-elbow and haphazard methods of student self-rule at Harvard has been the raising of funds by the various house committees. Each year this necessary and indispensable evil has to be met to assure the proper functioning of student affairs within the houses, and each year finds an assortment of antiquated and unmethodical systems in use for the raising of these funds. That so much time has already elapsed without a common, practical method having been accepted is unexcusable, and it is all too plain that some common basis must be reached soon by the several house chairmen to insure some degree of efficiency.
The various systems in use at present range from what might almost be called the sublime in practicability and popular favor to the ridiculous. Leverett House relies on the good faith of its members to sign a pledge book in the library; caring not a whit, seemingly, how many members choose to donate anything. Lowell House capitalizes on its dances, relying on these profits for its funds, though the criticism is prevalent that such a method tends to cast too commercial a pallor over something that should be free from the money taint. Adams swings to the other extreme in demanding the presentation of a card, obtainable at a set price, for the use of the library and common room. In short, these houses offer dissimilar and often impractical ways and means for levying the annual tribute.
What can perhaps be called the nearest solution to this problem has been utilized by Eliot House to a remarkable degree of efficiency and popularity. This consists in a personal, room-to-room canvass by members of the house committee who collect exactly one-half of one percent of the annual room-rent. This rate has been judged both fair by the residents and ample for running expenses by the financial boards. The collection is a bit more tedious than in other houses but the degree of surety is much greater, the interest spread in the workings of the House committee is far wider and the general result in satisfaction repays the initial effort many times over:
With a system already in successful operation, the various house committees would do well to begin revision of their own methods along these lines. House funds undeniably play a large and growing part in the efficient workings of the house system, and a united front in this respect would do much to alleviate the confusion and uncertainty which is so prevalent today.